the inspiration blog

Posts Tagged ‘daily inspiration

I’m in Boulder, Colorado for a week, where I’m starting development of a new one-man show. I did one of my graduate degrees here at Naropa University, and returned  to work with an old friend and collaborator. It’s my first new solo theatre piece in a good while… and so exciting to be diving back in!

At the same time, it’s also scary and intimidating. I always take on topics where I don’t have all of the answers. My last show was about Jewish identity, and my new show is about being a man. Pretty big topics, which can become quite overwhelming.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed whenever we’re doing something new – because we don’t know the twists and turns of the path. When we’re still trying to figure it all out, we can feel swept away or off-course. And it’s hard to see the destination when we’re mid-river. When we don’t know how we’ll get there, it’s easy to hesitate, question what we’re doing, and procrastinate… or even give up out of self-doubt.

The fact is, if we’re doing something new, we seldom have a map of how to get to our destination. At best, we can follow others’ advice or strategies; yet, we have to take the journey ourselves, and make it our own. This is true with our businesses, and our lives – whenever we set a new goal, it’s always an adventure – which sometimes feels like stumbling around in the dark. Yet, there’s always a flow to it.

This is also true with public speaking. Even if you’re giving the same signature talk for the umpteenth time, every time you do it is different. Your audience is different… the room or surroundings likely change… and current events have shifted. In sum, the energy will be unique every time. 

Which is why it’s essential to be present. (Tangential reminder, if you haven’t heard me say it before: presence is the art of being fully present.) If we’re present, and open, and listening, we can feel what’s needed next. You might slightly change how you word what you say… or you could change the delivery. If you’re tuned in, and going with the flow, it gets easy. If you resist and try to force things, you may drown; but if you let go, the river will take you where you want to go.

Going with the flow means trusting you can handle anything that happens. In other words, you don’t need to have any fear or nervousness, because you know you can deal with whatever arises. 

Whether in regards to a speaking engagement, with our businesses, or in other areas of life, things seldom go just as we plan or as we expect. But in that moment when the river changes course, we can listen inwardly, look outside to what is going on, and tap in… and we can do what that moment needs.

For speaking, of course, a fair amount of preparation is needed. It’s essential to have a wide toolset to draw upon, so that you can adeptly handle anything that happens. And it takes skills and practice… which is what WholeSpeak coaching and workshops are for. Stay tuned for announcements of some powerful workshops happening this year.

When times are challenging, what do you do to get back in the flow? Please leave a comment and share.

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I’ve been going, going, going – both outwardly with all of the activities I named above, and also with deep inner work. While I do my best to also simply enjoy life, I also am constantly on a path of personal and spiritual growth.

While I think I’ve been doing fairly well at staying centered and not rushing, apparently I needed to slow down even more: yesterday I sprained my ankle. And this morning, my neighbor called me to tell me that I have a flat tire on my car. Hmmm.

Luckily, my ankle isn’t too bad – after all, my coach training program starts in mere days! But it was a message to look at how I’m operating.

It’s easy to subconsciously hold the belief that moving quickly, to grow our businesses, means that we have to be stressed and anxious, or even have a packed schedule. This really isn’t true. In fact, most people procrastinate a lot (which is really a block that can emerge due to various reasons, such as fear that we won’t succeed, the fear of rejection, or out of perfectionist tendencies). and don’t use their time well. Or, we can waste time Web-surfing or on Facebook – which feels as if we’re productive, when in fact our minds are just busy.

In fact, creating extra space, and slowing down, is a form of self-care that allows us to really get things done. This nurturing of the parasympathetic nervous system lets us prepare to take action. That’s right – it’s actually a functioning of the nervous system. We need down time in order to then be ready for action (or, a the sympathetic response). Incidentally, with speaking, publicly or otherwise, a pause functions the same way: we need silence to be able to hear the words better. And we need to take a pause to get ready to really move. Sometimes this is a moment; sometimes it’s a year of self-development and preparation, or focusing on other things.

Assuming you’re ready to get things moving sooner, are a few suggestions, to implement if you’re not doing them regularly:

  • Meditate. Do whatever practice works for you, or even just contemplate the sky.
  • Go for walks in nature. Nature energy rejuvenates, and provides space for action.
  • Move your body. Get out of your head, and just enjoy kinesthetic movement – be it dancing, exercise, heightened bodily awareness while doing the dishes, or other somatic techniques.
  • Laugh. Or, cry. Take breaks to just feel and express what’s needed.

By taking these moments to slow down and get present, you can then get ready to really move into action, and use your time more efficiently when working… and make sure you’re spending more time fully enjoying your life.

As for me, my ankle is already getting better – but, long-distance healing is very welcome. I can’t take those walks outside for a bit… but my dish-washing includes a new dance move!

How do you want to slow down? What works for you? Please comment below.

slow-downnnn

 

Every Saturday morning that I’m in town, I walk over to the farmer’s market near where I live (a cute neighborhood in Oakland, California, right by a lake). I love buying organic fruits and vegetables, in season, straight from the people who grow them – and have gotten to be friends with some of the vendors too.

At the farmer’s market, I’ve made it a regular practice to buy flowers. Sometimes I see a glint in a passerby’s eye, a “knowing look,” wondering what lucky woman is getting them.

But they’re for me. That’s right: every week I buy myself flowers. Sure, if I’m dating someone, she may be getting flowers too. 🙂 But I first buy for myself the color and arrangement that I intuitively feel will nurture me that week. And when I look at them across from my desk over the coming days, I feel kindness toward myself.

It’s a self-love practice.

Self-love is one of the most important things we need to find confidence – in life, and certainly as speakers. 

As you know, we are our own biggest critics. Which means that we’re generally the ones getting in our own way, and stopping ourselves from enjoying life and appreciating our successes. For example, many speakers get angry at themselves when they make a mistake.

Have you ever had a speaking engagement, or something else with high stakes, where it mostly went well… except for that one thing didn’t go quite right? Did you fixate on that one little issue, and blow it out of proportion? Or, did you notice it, take note of what to adjust for next time, and then appreciate all of your hard work as well as everything that went well?

Yes, it’s possible to do that! But it takes practice, and changing our orientation around what happens when things don’t go as planned.

One of the most essential aspects of speaking, and confidence, is our relationship to ourselves. Instead of being self-critical, could you be kind to yourself? Become your best friend, instead of your worst critic?

For some, self-love feels like a tall order. So I often start my clients off with generating compassion instead, using a compassion meditation that begins to change their response to themselves. This is a repatterning of self-destructive thoughts and feelings that, unfortunately, we pretty much all do. Your goal is to be able to be kind to yourself when something doesn’t go right – when speaking, or in life.

There’s much more to the topic of dealing with “making mistakes” (if there really is such a thing), including more fully trusting the flow of life. And we can develop greater capacity for handling whatever arises – because with public speaking (and everything else, for that matter), it will never quite go as we expect! Still, generating lovingkindness toward ourselves is a pretty great place to start.

So, whether you buy yourself flowers, do a metta/compassion/lovingkindness meditation, or another practice, please: be kind to yourself. I guarantee that when you are nicer to the person you spend the most time with – yourself – you’ll not only feel better. Your audience (and everyone else, for that matter) will also sense this, and feel safer with you as a result… and welcome you into their hearts even more.

Will you share your comments and feelings about this below? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Are you sick of feeling lack about money, and not knowing where to get enough clients? Or, perhaps you know… and yet it still feels like a struggle. There are honestly numerous reasons why holistic practitioners, coaches, and other conscious, spiritual entrepreneurs who are trying to really do good work in the world find themselves stuck and under-earning. One frequent issue: we are not aligned in our truth. This may show up as…

  • Using marketing or messaging techniques that feel forced, fake or salesy… because that’s what you’ve been taught or see others doing
  • Not having identified your heartfelt niche or calling that really excites and motivates you to move forward
  • Not standing in the true power of your work – which means you may be undercharging, or simply undercutting your value through unconfident nonverbal communication (so that others aren’t compelled to hire you)
  • Energetically not attracting clients who really would benefit from your work – and who you just love!
It’s absolutely essential to step into our truth. Into our power. And into absolute integrity.

This can feel like a really personal issue… that must be dealt with in whatever way. So I encourage you to ask yourself some deep questions, such as:
  • What feels really alive in your work in the world? What do you love?
  • Are there business-building techniques (ways of finding clients) you’ve been taught that don’t really feel good? What are they?
  • What’s really missing for you in your work?
You have the choice to be in alignment. It requires A) letting go of that which doesn’t feel right… and B) getting any help you need to step into what is your true path, and to be compensated well for giving forth your greatest gifts. If you’re working with the wrong mentors, it just won’t work. And you’ll know when you find the right ones, because it’s a much easier Yes (even if you feel resistant)… and they get you. The right ones don’t try to force you to conform to a prefabricated system, but make sure that it works for you. Overall, the questions boil down to this:

What feels out of alignment? And what help do you need? 
Please share, and write in comments below.

Blessings to you and to all of those who need your sacred work!
Jonathan 

P.S. It can feel really vulnerable to speak your truth on something like this. And yet, if you do, I guarantee you’ll be speaking for 100 people who read this and don’t write anything. And you’ll inspire them to be okay with where they are at, too. You aren’t alone. Please share!
 
P.S.S. If you’re really ready for a breakthrough, and want to get out of the rut, I’m forming an affordable “thriving practice” group to address these issues, and also work with clients privately on all of the above. Email me to express interest in the group, or set up a time for a complimentary breakthrough session, to find the option that’s right for you.

Have you been feeling a little… wacky… as of late? Lots of change is afoot now. I’ve noticed a lot of wild energy and mood swings happening everywhere – often very positive, and at other times just bizarre. Sometimes I’m feeling just incredible, and at other times I feel all over the place. Really weird! I wanted to get a sense of who else was going through this, so I just took a poll on Facebook, and almost unanimously found that people currently feel like they’re switching back and forth between being really centered and pretty off-kilter. Have you noticed yourself experiencing any of the following?

  • Vacillating feelings and moods (like, sudden bursts of fear or hope), or changing your mind repeatedly
  • Intense interactions; those around you negotiating dramatic issues, or even family members facing life-threatening illnesses
  • Increased feelings of doubt about your work, relationships or other important matters

Yes, it’s not just you. I’m here to tell you: you’re not crazy. And you’re not alone. (And if you’re not experiencing this at all, be aware that others might be.) This is the 2012 change energy at its peak. It’s here. So… what do we do with this??

Here are some exercises. These are great to help transform nervousness around public speaking into confidence – and also help us maintain our center in the rest of life.

  1. Get in your body. Stretch, exercise, jump up and down… you get the picture.
  2. Ground your energy. Send roots or cords into the center of the earth. Often. And, if it’s your cup of tea, upon Divine Source or the Universe from above, so you’re centered between heaven and earth.
  3. Witness the ride. If you use any sort of awareness techniques, like Vipassana, this a good time! Don’t be attached to huge fluctuations. Know it may keep changing for a while. If nothing else, just take a lot of deep breaths and focus your attention there.
  4. Postpone making big decisions. Since a lot is moving all over the planet right now, and it’s affecting everyone, you may want to wait until things have felt consistent for some time.
  5. Smile. Get some perspective, laugh a little, and know we’re on a roller coaster. Have a little fun with it, if possible. 🙂

Hopefully these will help. If you’re dealing with this too, keep breathing. And stay compassionate for your friends and family. We’re all in it together.

…Been experiencing this? Please share, and leave a comment below.

Recently my focus has simply been on self-love. Loving myself during my mistakes. Loving myself while I continue on this interesting human journey, with all its aspects. Loving myself, with compassion and care, as much as I do my clients, friends and colleagues.

Why is it so much easier to love others than ourselves? Although, anger and other negative emotions toward others are often a reflection of how we feel toward our own person. Interestingly, we often have the hardest time with those we know the best – spouses, coworkers, great friends… often can be the ones we’re also frustrated with. And, the one we know best of all (and, sometimes, understand the least) is ourselves. We judge ourselves, punish ourselves, and worse, for actions that we might have much more easily forgiven in others. Or, at least, in a small child who obviously would have known no better.

The step toward self-love can begin with witnessing and curiosity. Rather than just judging something you did, view it as if an aspect, or part, of you, was responsible for that. Imagine if the part who did an action you judge, or had a feeling with which you struggle, was a child. Would the most loving treatment be to yell at her or him? Would that help your inner sweet, innocent one feel safe?

Action: Write down a list of how you’d like others to treat you. Then, take an inventory of how you’re actually treating yourself. Begin to notice any gaps. And when you have a strong feeling, notice where you feel it in your body… and imagine as if that is part of you that needs to be heard and wants honoring and expression. Send a message to yourself, like…

“I hear you.”

“I care about you… and about what you’re experiencing.”

“I love you.”

After trying this, please note any experiences below.

OK, I admit it: I haven’t been able to blog as much as I had originally planned. When starting The Inspiration Blog, the desire was to blog multiple times a day – and for some time, I did, and loved it. Have I gotten out of routine? Perhaps. But more so, my energy is focused on other ways to create transformation in this world. I’ll still be here, and will still be contributing as much as I can – because I love doing it, and because of the great feedback I’ve gotten that shows how much people get from it.

In the meantime, you might ask: are you searching? If so, why? How much do we really need to find peace, empowerment and joy in our lives? (Yes, I ask this now to myself as well.) It’s so easy in our consumer-based culture to keep searching for More.

But the true answer is really quite simple.

Go back through previous blog entries, and meditate on one simple paragraph. Check categories on the right for where to start.

Action: Whatever you are seeking, the answer is already present. Listen inward now, and you’ll find that all you need is already within you.


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